Sunday, March 27, 2016

How Your Life is Like a Shelf

The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.
This morning, I read this article by James Clear. And I loved it, mostly. I followed the steps. I wrote down my top goals/priorities. (He suggested writing down 25, but I could only come up with 15.) I circled my top five. Then according to the article, I was supposed to eliminate number six through fifteen. But as I considered those ten doomed for the dung-heap goals, I realized something. Those  that were about-to-be eliminated actually enhance and enable my top five.
(If you want to take a moment and write down your top priorities, please do so.) 

Here's my list. They're in order of importance.

1. Spiritual strength
2. A large, loving family
3. A peaceful home
4. A healthy body
5. A writing career that blesses millions of people
6. A loving circle of friends
7. Financial freedom
8. Travel opportunities
9. Meaningful conversations
10. Thought provoking and entertaining books
11. Entertaining movies
12. Beautiful outdoor places (spending time outside.)
13. A well-organized home
14. Service opportunities
15. Good music

Look at the top priority, spiritual strength. It can be enhanced by almost everything else on the list: good music, service, spending time outside, books, movies, friends, writing, etc. But it can also be derailed by the wrong sort of music, books, movies, friends. The trick is to pick out and focus on those that help me gain spiritual strength.

Second priority--my family. Again, the secondary goals can strengthen this top priority as we share meaningful conversations, watch movies together, spend time outside doing things we enjoy together, travel together. Conversely, my family can be hurt by the wrong sort of conversations--gossip, criticism, backbiting, comparisons.

This same exercise can be applied to everything on my list. I'm healthier when I'm spending time outside. My home is more peaceful when it's organized. My conversations are more meaningful because of the books I read and the movies I watch. I can only provide service if I have resources to share. The list goes on.

I once heard that we should consider our lives as a shelf. If our lives are full, we have to eliminate something to make way for something new. Every day, we have to decide what gets to spend time on our shelves. That's why I put spiritual strength at the top of the list, because sometimes only God knows what should stay and what should go.

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